Brighton and Hove target national double

The Argus: Tom Welch Tom Welch

Tom Welch and Danny Kirkland will have to box to their strengths when they bid for national titles.

That is the advice of their Brighton and Hove coach Rob Purkis ahead of their respective National Association of Boys Clubs finals.

Kirkland boxes tomorrow at the Shirebrook Leisure Centre, Derbyshire, in the Class B finals for boys born in 1996. He faces North semi-final winner Jimmy Tyers (Newbiggin ABC) in the 66-70kg division.

Super-heavyweight Welch is in action on Saturday night when the Class C finals for boys born between 1994 and 1995 are hosted by the Heart of Portsmouth club at Charter Sports Centre, Portsmouth.

Welch, son of former British and Commonwealth champion Scott, has yet to throw a punch in anger during the championships after a succession of byes and withdrawals as potential opponents avoided him.

Northside ABC’s Yasar Iqbal will be his first opponent in the 91+kg division final.

Coach Purkis will accompany both boxers to their respective finals and knows they face stern examinations.

Purkis said: “Tyers is more experienced but Danny has as good a chance as anyone.

“Danny is a very strong and powerful boy and is probably stronger than 90% of the people he would come up against at this age.

“He will need to stamp his authority on the bout.

“He’s not a distance fighter and will need to get stuck in and mix it so he can use that strength advantage.”

Purkis believes Welch may have to take another approach against Iqbal, who has been boxing since he was ten-years-old and started learning the ropes in the same Bury gym as Amir Khan.

Iqbal has won this championship before but at heavyweight and has been tipped for success by Tyson Fury.

Three Nations Youth champion Welch has been training hard for the final as well as attending England training camps.

Purkis said: “Tom’s fight will be a clash of styles. Iqbal is short, stocky and tough. Tom will have to use his reach and jab to his advantage.

“He will need to try to pick him off at distance then mix it in the later rounds if he tires him out.

“Tom has had opponents but they have pulled out once they have known who they are boxing.

“I think Tom has stopped his last four opponents now and word gets around on the grapevine.”

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